Host: Jonathan Bender
Running a successful business in many ways parallels the dynamics of a game-winning team. Sit in with the Courtside CEO, Jonathan Bender for the moments of truth and epiphanies that turned the light on for his guests – all leaders from the world of business, sports and health. He’ll roll back the stone on the secret struggles and challenges and their most common bond, faith in a higher power: God. For the seasoned executive or a budding entrepreneur it is never too late for a renaissance. See it, Dream it, Believe it, and Be it!
The Courtside CEO with Jonathan Bender
Jonathan Rene Bender, from Picayune, Mississippi, is one of the nation’s top-ranked high school basketball players earning the prestigious John R. Wooden MVP Award during the 1999 McDonald’s High School All-American Game. Pulling down 10 rebounds and scoring 31 points, Jonathan broke Michael Jordan’s scoring record set in 1981 and continues to reign as the game’s all-time leading scorer.
Selected fifth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors, the 17-year old was acquired by the Indiana Pacers and went on to become the first high school player draftee to score in double figures in their NBA debut. Touted as the NBA’s next Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan, Jonathan was disappointedly pushed into an early exit from professional basketball after seven seasons of limited playing time due to chronic knee pain believed to be the result of an abnormal growth spurt.
Having faced adversity earlier in life, Jonathan accepted his new challenge head on and, through hard work and determination, gained a stronger sense of confidence. He quickly learned to apply what had made him successful on the court to life off the court and, having always marched to the beat of a different drummer (at 7’0”, he was proficient at all five basketball playing positions), Jonathan combined a genuine passion for helping others with his “avant-garde” approach to life to quickly become a force to be reckoned with off the court as well.
A self-made entrepreneur, Jonathan’s efforts began when he organized and funded a caravan of semi-trucks transporting non-perishable food, drinking water, clothing and emergency supplies from Indianapolis to the Gulf Region in 2005. Soon after, he established Jonathan Bender Enterprises (JBE) to help improve the housing situation for low-income families in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Purchasing 38 flood-damaged properties in New Orleans’ 9th Ward through his real estate company, J Davis Reality, another division of JBE, Kingdom Homes, restored each property installing hardwood floors, granite countertops, oak cabinets and energy efficient appliances. A third division, Blue Package Management, manages all JBE rental properties.
Since then, The Jonathan Bender Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, was founded to be able to work with students to help them identify their gifts, realize their passions, and explore choices available to lead a productive and successful life after graduating high school. Jonathan plans to expand his efforts into Picayune, Indianapolis, Houston, Atlanta, and New York in the near future.
After almost four years, on December 13, 2009, Jonathan signed with the NBA’s New York Knicks and made his official NBA comeback on December 18 against the L.A. Clippers, Jonathan clocked 14 minutes and made a favorable impression on sports fans and media worldwide with 9 points, 2 blocked shots, and 1 assist. He has since retired but on his own terms.
Jonathan has created a coaching and mentoring program in which he is “The Choices Coach” and works with high school athletes, college athletes and professional athletes to empower them with the knowledge, focus, accountability and training needed to achieve consistent results, stay on top of the game, anticipate unforeseen obstacles and apply strategy and skill acquisition to accomplish the desired goals.
Jonathan is an avid golfer, and enjoys playing pool and working out. He has a patent pending on JB3 fitness equipment he invented and largely credits for the rehabilitation of his knees and successful NBA comeback. Supported by research of the Purdue University Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, plans are to have Bender Bands available to the public by end of 2011.